Taraji P. Henson Discusses Working With Timbaland On ‘Empire’
In the US, Empire is 2015's hottest new TV show, with over 23 million viewers tuning in to March's Season One finale. Now E4 has snapped up the rights to the musical drama series created by Lee Daniels (The Butler) and Danny Strong (The Hunger Games - Mockingjay), giving British viewers the chance to discover why America's become so obsessed.
Basically, there's a lot to get obsessed about. The unapologetically soapy show centres on a fictional hip-hop music and entertainment company, Empire, owned by Terence Howard's rapper-turned-mogul Lucious Lyon, who pits his three sons against one another to find a rightful heir after being diagnosed with a terminal degenerative disease that, obviously, he isn't telling anyone about.
Throw in some impressive original music executive produced by Timbaland, guest appearances from Snoop Dogg, Rita Ora and Mary J. Blige, and Courtney Love in a recurring role as a drug-addicted rock star on the comeback trail, and Empire is genuinely unmissable TV. NME met up with Taraji P. Henson recently to find out her take on the show's success.
The music on the show, awesomely, was executive produced by Timbaland. Is he on set much?
"He comes every now and again. He has a producing partner, Jim Beanz, who's pretty much in Chicago [where Empire is filmed] with the cast all the time. But Timbaland comes in and out and has a lot of say and does the final remixing of all the tracks. He is very hands on, but he's not on set every day because he has so many other projects going on. Because he's so busy, sometimes the guys have to fly down to Miami to record with him. He's so brilliant at what he does, he's like a Quincy Jones of today."